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Cichlid Color/Sizing

If you're new to cichlids, we've prepared a comprehensive guide to help you understand what to expect when ordering from our store. Here are some essential pointers:

  1. Females do not display vibrant colors, so keep this in mind when making your selection.
  2. The fish's size, age, maturity, and dominance are the primary indicators of their coloration. Generally, larger, mature, dominant males exhibit the most striking colors.
  3. Haps typically develop their full coloration later than peacocks and mbunas.
  4. Several factors can influence the coloration of cichlids, including stress levels, water quality, and diet.
  5. Color variation by size:
    • 1-1.5" Unsexed Juveniles: These fish are only a few weeks old and appear colorless. Strains and species will have a similar appearance at this stage.
    • 1.75-2.25" Unsexed Juveniles: These fish are still too young to determine their gender, so males and females look identical and lack significant coloration.
    • 2.5-3" Unsexed: At this size, we can identify the gender of some fish, while others remain challenging to determine.
    • 2.5-3" Males: At this age, the fish are a couple of months old, and we can discern their gender to some extent. However, certain fish may still lack coloration, especially haps, due to being sexually immature or not dominant enough.
    • 3-4" Males: These fish are entering sexual maturity. Some may exhibit good base coloration, while others, especially haps, may still lack color. 
    • 4"+ Males: This size range showcases the best coloration. These fish are sexually mature and sufficiently large to display vibrant colors, even if they aren't the most dominant individuals in the tank.

Additionally, the coloring of cichlids can be affected by various factors. The male's dominance and confidence have the most substantial impact. Newly arrived males may take time to reach their full-color potential as they adjust and become comfortable in their new tank.

It's worth noting that OB Cichlids exhibit a significant amount of "hybrid vigor." Unlike most cichlids bred for color consistency, OBs can vary significantly in appearance between individuals.